Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Are Gay Men Insecure?

Another question entered into a Google search and landed here on this blog. Good question, but bad presumption.

I'm here to say that not all gay men are insecure. The question could have been phrased better. Nonetheless, among the straight community, there is an assumption that all gay men are the same. They all act and behave the same. They like the same things, and hang out with the same type of people.

... none of those assumptions are correct. I can attest, being one....

There are as many different behavior traits among gay men as there are in the whole population. Some gay men are indeed insecure. They worry about what other people think of them. They worry about how they appear to others by what they say and what they choose to wear, among other factors.

Think about it: scientific studies affirm that being gay is not a choice, but most boys are raised with the expectation by their parents and society that they are heterosexual. But as boys mature and some of them are interested in others of the same sex, they worry about why they are "different." Social stereotyping plays a big role in that. Boys are expected to act and to behave in masculine ways, so they adopt (or try to adopt) masculine mannerisms that are expected of them -- and also to hide behind the mask of being a guy. (This is sometimes confused with "living in the closet" which is not the same thing, but related. A gay man who lives in the closet is not disclosing publicly his sexual orientation.) A gay man who puts on a facade of "acting straight" is doing that mostly because he believes that is the way he should behave and appear to others.

So back to the point: what makes some gay men insecure? In my opinion, mostly it is fear. Fear of "being outted." Fear of reprisal from those they hold most dear -- parents, family, and respected others in their lives (teachers, clergy, bosses at work, etc.)

What gets a gay man over his insecurities is to become comfortable with who he is. Like I have said about myself before, I'm a guy. I am also gay. I behave in a masculine manner because I'm a masculine man. I don't like all things that society expects masculine men to like -- such as sports. I don't like sports because I was ridiculed by my early-year gym teachers because I'm a klutz and seriously deficient in athletic skills. Okay, so be it. Does that make me insecure?

I admit, it once did. I was afraid what other people would do or say about me.

Then I grew up. I realized that most educated people don't give a flying frig about my sexual orientation. They were more concerned about me in ways that other people are evaluated: what I did for a living, how I carry myself among others, if I lived a decent life (measured in various ways from being financially responsible to being good to others.)

I don't go around waving the rainbow flag and pushing the fact that I'm gay in other people's faces. I know that most people aren't gay and some are uncomfortable with even the thought of a same-sex relationship. Okay, fine. Their problem to resolve. I help them figure it out by being "me" and doing what I do in my work, my community, and my life, then they find out that I'm gay. By then, it's a moot point. They have already figured out that I'm a normal guy living a decent life, who happens to live with another guy in a stable, monogamous relationship. So what?

The point that I am trying to make is that yes, indeed, some gay men are insecure, because society has taught them to fear acts and words from others who are not gay. Once they realize that the world won't end and their life will continue as it always has, then they can feel more self-confident and therefore, more secure.

Life is short: be who you are, and be secure with that.

No comments: